"We were trying to get signatures on a petition that a [freeway] wouldn’t go through Washington Square. This was in the 50s and we set up a table with petitions near the park and asked everybody who came by and was enjoying the park if they would sign. And so many people wouldn’t sign. We’d say, "Well, you don’t want a road through here, do you?" No, they didn’t want a road through there, but "You don’t know who else might be signing. It might be dangerous to sign." Sometimes a husband would tell a wife."
That's Jane Jacobs, in an interview with Jim Kunstler describing how McCarthyism cows us.